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Setting Blocks

March 21, 2011

Thanks to a number of quilting friends I’ve recently been enjoying a video of dancing quilt blocks: http://www.nfb.ca/film/quilt/?ec=en20110209. I especially liked the music since it reminded me of our last Sew We Go adventure in Ireland. The way the sampler all came together in the end was  delightful and, even though the set of the blocks was simple, it got me thinking about block setting.

I put together a sampler top recently and wanted to do more with the blocks than just sash them in horizontal rows. After a bit of playing I determined that alternating them with hour-glass (quarter square triangle) blocks made the quilt much more interesting.

So here’s the topic: whether you’ve made a stack of the same star block or a sampler of stars (or anything else), how do you decide the best setting? I have a number of suggestions.

1. If you already have the blocks made, just lay them out! I like to start with a horizontal set and snap a digital picture. Then I move them around (on point, leave gaps to represent sashing, etc.) and snap another picture. After I’ve photographed a few options, I download them to my computer and put all of them on one page so I can compare. It’s much easier than just moving the blocks around while trying to remember which way you liked the best.

2.Use a computer program like Electric Quilt. It’s amazing how quick and easy this step becomes. You simply choose a block (or blocks) from the program library, choose a setting (horizontal, on point, sashed, etc.) and with the click of a mouse you get a great visual of what the quilt could look like. Then, with a few more clicks, the blocks can be rotated or the colors changed. It’s amazing, but there are disadvantages: you need to own the program, you need to know how to use the program and it can “eat” time out of your day.

3. If the block is still just a PIMM (project in my mind) or you’ve just made one block and want to see if you like it in a whole quilt without buying a computer quilt program, make copies of the block on a printer and lay the copies out as in step one.

Any other ideas???

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One comment

  1. Thanks so much for the link to the canadian film. Its why I love to quilt. So many variations. abonnie



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